Residents Kick Off Predictions for the Season
The start of the NFL season usually is greeted by an explosion of excitement throughout the Washington area. The city is painted in burgundy and gold, and Redskins fans usually have high expectations of their beloved home team.
The Redskins began their new season with a 16-13 win in overtime, against the Miami Dolphins. Although the defense performed better than last year when it was ranked 31st in the league, the offense sputtered, especially in the first half. In the second game, the team beat the Philadelphia Eagles 20-12.
This year, some fans aren’t as positive about the outlook for the Redskins. Coming off a 5-11 season and finishing last place in the NFC East, the Redskins did not make a big splash in free agency as in previous seasons, when owner Dan Snyder spent more than any franchise on free agents.
The Redskins instead kept their core nucleus and opted to develop their talent. They drafted superstar safety LaRon Landry with the sixth pick in the draft and signed middle linebacker London Fletcher to lead their linebacking corps. Still, many Redskins fans do not believe that is enough to make a playoff push this season.
“They don’t play together,” said Northeast resident Garrett Williams. “They got the personnel, but don’t play together. I don’t look for them to have the same record as last year, but they still won’t make the playoffs.”
Other residents believe the Redskins are still a year away. “We are still rebuilding,” said Northwest resident David Wigenton. “There are too many injuries to players like Clinton Portis. We are holding on to too many veterans with injuries.”
“No playoffs this year; but better than last year,” Wigenton predicted. “My hope is Super Bowl contenders next year.”
Many question if legendary coach Joe Gibbs will still be able to lead the team to success at 66 years old and if his philosophy is outdated. “He got it as a head coach and a motivator, but as a GM he doesn’t,” Williams said. “When we were winning Super Bowls, Bobby Bethard was the GM; now he is the GM.” “I don’t think Gibbs is going to hold on,” Wigenton said.
Some Redskins fans in the area have higher hopes for the team and are more optimistic about the season outlook. “I got them 9-7 and in the playoffs,” said Northwest resident Andrew Warner. “The defense has to come out looking good. We have to get pressure from the defensive tackles and protect that quarterback. We have a good chance this season as long as we have a consistent field goal kicker.”
Many wonder if third-year quarterback Jason Campbell will improve his performance this season. “If we can win with Mark Rypien, we can win with anybody,” Warner said. “He is still learning, but he needs more strength. He is really good.”
Some dissenters in the area opt to root instead for teams like the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants. “The Redskins will suck this year, 6-10,” said Northwest resident Bernard Robinson, who is a Giants fan. “I call them the Deadskins. The coach is all washed up. All he has is a racing team.”